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News/Business. Tamron Hall. Tamron Hall provides context and informed perspectives on the stories making headlines. New.

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Israel 52, United States 19, Syria 17, Obama 10, Us 9, Jerusalem 8, Iran 8, U.s. 6, Perez 4, Dianne Feinstein 4, Assad 4, America 4, Netanyahu 4, Egypt 3, Andrea Mitchell 3, Washington 3, Harry Reid 3, Benjamin Netanyahu 2, Spiriva 2, Martin Fletcher 2,
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  MSNBC    News Nation    News/Business. Tamron Hall. Tamron Hall provides context and  
   informed perspectives on the stories making headlines. New.  

    March 20, 2013
    11:00 - 12:00pm PDT  

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hall today. the "news nation" is following breaking news out of israeli. president obama will be holding a joint news conference with benjamin netanyahu. following a would closed-door meeting between those two leaders. as the assad regime and syrian rebels accuse each other of launching deadly chemical and launching a deadly chemical attack just hours before the president's arrival. the white house at this point says it cannot con official those claims. this trip to israel is the first for the president. this is a four-day middle east trip. he was greeted by netanyahu and israeli president perez. before leaving the a airport, president obama was shown the israeli air force system which the u.s. helped pay for. he met with president perez and
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took part in a ceremonial tree planting. >> there is a common vision uniting us. to confirm dangers. to bring closure as soon as possible. >> i reaffirm president perez, as i will throughout my visit, that in this work, the state of israel will have no greater friend than the united states. right now as president meets with prime minister netanyahu, major issues, like syria, iran's nuclear program, stalled peace talks. ish a us taking center stage and joining me live now from jerusalem, host of "andrea mitchell reports," andrea mitchell. also my friend and colleague, martin fletcher. along with "newsweek" daily beast editor, elizabeth roug. when the news conference starts, well take it live. this trip, andrea, a postally a
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symbolic one but there are very serious foreign policy issues here, not the least of being the civil war in syria. the white house says it is looking into allegations about the use of chemical weapons. the house and intelligence committee says there is quote high probability that chemical agents were useed. what will prime minister netanyahu be asking of the united states in terms of ending the on flikt in syria? >> well, first of all, the president, president obama's, credibility is very, very critical. they is said from the white house podium that any use from the chemical weapons would be a red line. presumably this would be the trigger for more american involvement. as you know, craig, u.s. has been behind other allies, britain and france pressing on the u.s. to do more. we have done human. aid, nonlethal aid, helped to the combatance, but not what they have been pleading for. which is more weaponry.
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so there's a lot of pressure on the white house to become more involved in syria. this is skoesten shl because they have to wonder about what will follow the civil war. if assad is going to fall, will it be another vacuum like the vk um that has taken place, leading to huge securityish a us in egypt next door. egypt has a government. not entirely functioning government but it hasn't cancelled the historic peace treaty with israel. but security situation in egypt is collapsing all around it and that is the real fear, if they have total collapse. al qaeda elements increasingly large roles in the opposition. and a real issue of authority next door in syria, post assad. >> martin, let's talk about the other major issue here that is certainly on the agenda there. president perez said today after his meeting, that israel trusts
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the u.s. policy to prevept iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. not just to contain, but to prevent. do you foresee, martin, any change from the administration towards iran either in action or tone? >> i would imagine that the administration does not want any change for the time being. and i would just like to add to your introduction. i'm not sure it is true to say israel trust the united states completely. they need to say that they do and they need to believe the united states because they are still -- that serves a lot of questions being asked and that is one of the key issues that the two leaders will be discussing. netanyahu will be asking obama, prove to me, show me, that you really will take military action if necessary, if economic sanctions and diplomacy do work then you can stop iran from getting a nuclear bomb. israel really is an skoesten shl
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issue. that is a question in israel's mind. whether the united states will change its policies at the moment, of course, that will depend on progress in iran. and there is real progress. the question is in iran, how close are they actually to in terms of enriching uranium to that 20% level. how much of it and how soon will they reach the 93% level which means they can make a bomb very quickly. and american intelligence, pretty -- they are pretty close to agreeing on what is happening in iran. what they don't necessarily agree on is what to do about it. >> we should note here for viewers at home, that the joint news conference that was supposed to have started at 2:00 or 2:05, we just received word that it will start at 2:25 instead. the joint news conference between netanyahu and president obama. when it happens, we will bring it to you live as well. louise, let me bring you in here to the conversation.
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what can we expect the president to say about the expansion of settlements, on palestinian land, another major issue on the agenda there. >> even before he gets down to settlements, i think this is a question of obama going on a charm offensive in israeli and maybe israelis feel this is too little too late. many israelis remember that when obama first visited the region, he went to cairo and he gave his famous cairo speech. he didn't come to israel. and i think a lot of israelis feel that that was a slight. we have also seen in the last couple of years that the relationship between the two leaders hasn't exactly been a warm relationship when prime minister netanyahu came to washington in 2011, he scolded the president as he stood next to him. so those things are remembered by the israelis and i think obama really has to go on quite the charm offensive here. >> andrea, how has the
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relationship between president obama and the prime minister, how has it evolved? because we just saw it there. sort of an interesting image this morning. the two of them watching with their jackets off and matching ties. they seem to be palling around this morning. >> they certainly made a big effort at it. louise just mentioned that terrible visit two years ago, when the prime minister, in the oval office, scolded the president to his face. and you saw the expressions. they were really -- the white house was really offended by that. it has taken a lot to repair it. similarly, the israelis felt that the position that barack obama took when he first took office against jewish settlements were a real obstacle. then of course the president backed down. that was an awkward moment for the palestinians leaving them in the lurch. so none of the critics would say that the white house is not bungled this relationship. but a lot of people put blame on
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the israeli side as well. it's gotten off on the wrong foot and they are trying to fix it. but it is one of the worst relationships i can remember, and i have covered presidents all the way back it ronald reagan. these leaders are not simpatico. they have leaned over backward, and that the republican nominees did too much. the white house comes to this visit clearly with that in mind. >> i want it bring in joe ruben. good to see you. >> great to be here. thanks, craig. >> joe, we heard from andrea, the perception of the president in israel. let's talk about the perception in the palestinian areas as well. talk to me a little bit about that. >> this is the right visit at the right time. the president going to israel right now is consistent with american president's past, about
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making a trip in the second term. and this is his first trip. and it sends a signal to the palestinians, to israelis, that america is engaged and is serious about seeing a resolution to their conflict. it doesn't mean that united states is going to put forward a plan and force the sides to the table but it is saying, clearly, and the president's been beaten up for this quite a bit, that u.s. is paying attention and trying to seek ways forward. in particular, the speech tomorrow that president will give to 2,000 israelis, that is keep, in talking to them about these issues and he will do a similar tiech engagement with the palestinians and go to visit centers of palestinian youth to really communicate this understanding of the full spectrum of this conflict. >> martin, you've covered that part of the world for a very long time. i want to talk to you about what peace could look like right now. what are the options, other than
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the two-state solution? >> may i just add something to what the previous speaker said about the palestinians? >> sure. >> it pales in in insignificant cans. they are hostile towards the president at the moment. they feel he has let them down dramatically. when you consider how enthusiastic the palestinians were four years ago, for president obama, it's been a huge change. he has a lot of make-up with the palestinians too. er with talking about speaking over the head with the israeli government to buddy up with the israeli people. he needs to get the palestinians on side too. that's a very important point that i think needs to be made. as for what peace could look
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like, two-state solution is what everybody pays lip service to and probably is the only realistic solution to a long-term, long-term peaceful solution. that's why it's so important. the issue that we began to mention earlier on andrea's show just before, was the question of the demographic change. if there is no two-state solution, and the dramatic change in demographic balance between jews and arabs, between the jordan river and mediterranean sea, becomes a key factor for the future. ineffectively, it will become one state. if there is no two states, then it will become one state. will the majority of arabs run by a majority of jews. that will change the nature of israeli society and probably make israel less popular in the united states because after all, we support, americans support, a democracy. minority ruling a majority of
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arabs is not something -- that's not what we signed up for. so two-state solution is urgent. one-state solution is being increasingly touted as the alternative. i think they need peace between the two states. that clear. by the wab the way, that is the official stance of the palestinians, united states and united nations. we understand john kerry's push will take place over the next six months to bring the israelis and palestinians together. it is critical. >> the shear number of settlements, how might that affect the prospect after two-state solution? >> well, going back to -- >> sorry -- >> the relationship for a second here, i think when we look at obama's visit here, like a few years ago, people were talking about leading from behind when it came to obama, in the middle
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east. and i think what we have seen come to pass. is only one of those words coming true and it wasn't -- it isn't leading. there has been just tremendous frustration as on both sides as martin mentions. palestinians are as frustrated with obama's presidency as israelis have been. so i think that is really something that he has to tackle first. and on the beast today, on the daily beast, the brookings institute has a really interesting primer on what obama should look for here at this meeting and some of the objectives he should go for. one of them is that he should reintroduce himself to the israeli public and try and make friends with the palestinians again. >> andrea, let me bring you back in here. let's talk about the newly formed coalition government. what might that government do? how might that affect any sort of potential talks with the palestinians? >> well, they are going to put,
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he is putting, a more moderate member of his cabinet in charge of the peace talks. but she has shown in the past, not the greatest plist cal skill, not able to get them off ground when she even had power. so that's a real problem for this government. in terms of housing policy. the latest issue says where the settlements are. there are settlements and the u.s. says settlements are not helpful for the peace process because they make boun kris the borders, baked in the cake and make it impossible for palestinians to get their share of those lands. the issue here is that it's in a so-called quadrant e-1 right outside of east jerusalem and it would basically chop up the land available to the palestinians. so it would make the west bank really an untenable piece of land. and divide it so with borders and barriers and checkpoints.
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it would be impossible for people to get to work, get to school, to live as a functioning state. >> andrea mitchell, martin fletcher, joel, we will ask to you stand by. the news conference expected to start at 2:25 now, instead of 2:05. when that happens, we will of course bring it to you live. back here, developing, the manhunt for the gunman who shot and killed the from colorado corrections at his own home. also, immigration reform is back on the fast track in washington. but our first team quotes some gop senators are trying to slow it down. we are on twitter and you can
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the republican party is moving closer to embracing immigration reform. we'll get to that in a few moments. gu again, live pictures right now. er with expecting prime minister netanyahu and president obama to start that joint news conference at about 2:25, five to seven minutes. we will bring that to you when it comes back live. >> senator rand paul seeming to have a citizenship. talking about the importance of reform and moving the party forward but as our first read team points out, the opponents
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to immigration right now are saying right now, let's slow down. nbc news senior editor mark murray joining me now. mark, who are these senators and what are they saying? >> it is handful of senators. you have this ranking member of the judiciary committee, chuck grassley, along with high profile tea party types like ted cruz and senator from utah pup have texas in there. they wrote a letter asking senate judiciary chairman pat lachey to slow down, that it is going too fast. sometimes when people say, hey, slow down on this type of legislation, that is one tactic to be able to defeat it. we saw with healthcare legislation in 2009 within 2010, a lot of opponent said, let's slow down, let's stop the hearings, that is the first step of stopping legislation. >> let's talk to rand paul for a second. how do we think his aspirations
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may be influencing a quick turn on immigration reform? >> it is a striking term from when his father was campaigning for the president spip particularly in 2007, 2008 when he ran tv ads very critical of comprehensive immigration reform. now you have rand paul part of the tea party. ron paul's son, endorsing in one way or another a type of pathway to citizenship. now, the devil is in the detail on the citizenship. it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people but the fact we are talking about republicans saying, how does this pathway to silt zenship hurt, a fundamental change from 2005, 2006, 2007, when that went down to defeat bush in the second term. >> thank you. sure do appreciate you. >> thanks. >> we are learning more about marines killed in a training exercise in nevada. family members say one of the victims was just 19 years old. from pennsylvania. another 21-year-old from ohio.
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he was engaged. another 23 years old from connecticut. all of their names are expected to be released tonight. nbc's miguel almaguer with more on that. >> the military still doesn't know what went wrong here in an accident that left at least seven servicemembers dead and another eight injured. this incident happened late monday night when the military says a 60 millimeter mortar exploded inside a launching tube here at hawthorne army depot. some of the service members were killed at the depot. another pronounced dead at a local hospital. today vigils for victims were held. not just here in hawthorne but also at camp lejeune in north carolina where this unit was based. at 7:00 eastern, we expect the names of the victims and those injured to be released. craig? >> all right, thank you so much. again, we are waiting on that news conference in jerusalem. it was originally supposed to
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start at about 5 after 2. then 2:25. we just got moments ago that news conference is slated to begin at about 2:35. again, president obama, prime minister benjamin netanyahu. they have been in a closed-door meeting which appears to be running long. when we come back, we will spend time talking with guest about what they might be talking about. this is "news nation." i had enough of feeling embarrassed about my skin.
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developing right now is a massive manhunt after the head of the state corrections department was killed in his home near colorado springs. authorities say tom clemmons was shot when he answered the door bell last night. going door to door ever since to see what neighbors heard and saw right now. authorities don have a suspect but they are looking for someone seen running, then driving away. clements was director of colorado's corrections
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department since 2011. before that, three decades in the missouri department of corrects. >> he did his job quietly and intently. he cared deeply about his staff. and his family and the community. tom clement dedicated his life to being a public servant, to making our state better, to making the world a better place. and he is going to be deeply, deeply missed. >> news of the shooting came as governor hickenlooper was set to sign some of the toughest gun legislation into the country, into law today. he signed measures limiting magazine capacity for eight bullets or eight shotgun shells. universal background checks. making buyers pay for their own background checks as well. the massacre at a movie theater last july and columbine back in 1999 were two of the biggest in
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the u.s. now removing an assault weapons ban from gun legislation going before the senate next month. harry reid said it was blocked because he felt p t would block passage of any bill at all. >> right now, her amendment, using the most optimistic numbers has less than 40 votes. i'm not going to try to put something on the floor that won't succeed. i want something that will succeed. >> i asked him if this could be part after package. he said, no. this is very important to me and i'm not going to lay down and play dead. >> democratic senator dianne feinstein of california reacting angrily to the assault weapons ban she sponsored being dropped. senior congressional reporter
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for politico. this is senator reid's announcement. shame on the united states. shame on us. and shows pictures of victims of sandy hook elementary shooting there. a poll showing 57% favor an assault weapons ban. president obama in a state of the union address that we all heard and reported on the next day. those families deserve a vote. keith boykin, why can't the families get a vote on this? >> well, they deserve a vote. unfortunately they won't be getting one because senator hire reid can chose to remove this from the bill coming forward. by dianne feinstein is exactly right. this is exactly something that the public deservees a vote. and even if it doesn't pass, let's get on record where people stand on the issues. this is something a majority of the american people believe in. i think harry reid is making the wrong mistake.
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even if this is a tactical decision because he want a bill that passes, what democrats do too often is lead from behind. in the sense they don't try to push as far as they can and they negotiate against themselves. this is what what is happening now. harry reid is negotiationing against dianne feinstein. i think diane is doing the right thing. >> this is senator from connecticut, the site of those shootings at newtown, take a look. >> we always knew it would be an uphill fight. we knew the opponent, staunch, ruthless. dianne feinstein is right. that these opponents won an initial round but not giving up hope for the fight. we can offer it as an amendment on the floor. >> again, senator richard blumenthal there. we will pause this conversation and go back to jerusalem where the joint news conference between prim minister netanyahu
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and president obama is expected to start. we are told in about two minutes there. the two leaders have been in a closed-door meeting as private residence for roughly two hours. president obama this morning saying he sees this entire visit to the middle east as an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between the two countries. what was interesting though, this morning, is at the press this morning, the news conference, the president did not mention iran. the president did not mention syria either. so it will be interesting to see what, if anything, the president and prime minister netanyahu, what they say about these two things at this news conference. a joint news conference, and a question and answer session afterwards between reporters who have gathered there in jerusalem. most of president obama's trip is going to be spent in israel. there will be a detour to jordan
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on friday to wimeet with king abdullah. he will go to the wef bank to meet with -- here you see president obama and prime minister netanyahu making their way to the podium for the joint news conference in jerusalem. it's about 8:30 there. let's take a listen. >> mr. president, barak, it is a great pleasure for me to host you here in jerusalem. you've graciously hosted me many times in washington. so i'm very pleased to have this opportunity to reciprocate. i hope that goodwill and warmth of the people of israel has already made you feel at home. >> very much so. >> we had an opportunity today to begin discussing the wide range of issues that are critical to both our countries. and foremost among these is iran's relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. mr. president, you have made it clear that you are determined to prevent iran from developing
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nuclear weapons. i appreciate your forthright position on this point. i also appreciate that you have noted that you have acted to thwart this threat, both through determined diplomacy, and strong sanctions that are getting stronger yet. notwithstanding our joint efforts and your great success in mobilizing the international community. diplomacy and sanctions so far have not stopped iran's nuclear program. and as you know, my view is that in order to stop iran's nuclear programs peacefully, diplomacy and sanctions must be augmented by clear and credible threat of military action. in this regard, mr. president, i want to thank you once again for always making clear that israel must be able to defend itself by itself, against any threat. i deeply appreciate those words because they speak to the great
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transformation that occurred in the life of the jewish people. with the rebirth of the jewish state. the jewish people only two generations ago, were once a powerless people, defenseless against those who sought our destruction. today we have both the right and the capability to defend ourselves. as you said earlier today, the essence of the state of israel, the essence of the rebirth of the jewish state, is the fulfillment of the age-old dream of the jewish people. to be masters of our fate and our own state. i think that was a wonderful line that i will cherish because it really gets down to the to the essence of what this state is about. that why i know that you preern that israel can never deseed to
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defend ourselves to others and israel has no better friend than the out of america. so i look forward to work with you to continue to address what is what is an exosten shl threat. we see a peaceful syria emerge from the carnage we have witnessed over the last two years. that carnage has already resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 people and the suffering of millions. we also share in determination to prevent the deadly arsenal of weapons within syria from falling into the hand of terrorist hands and i have no doubt that the best way to do that is to work closely with the united states. and other countries in the region to address the challenge and that's what we intend to do. finally, mr. president, your
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visit can gave us an opportunity it try it find a way to advance peace between israelis and palestinians. my new government was sworn in two days ago. i know there vs been questions regarding what the policy of the new government will be towards peace with the palestinians. so let me be clear. israel remains fully committed to peace and to the solution of two states for two peoples. we extend our hands in peace and in friendship to the palestinian people. i hope that your visit, along with the visit of secretary of state kerry, will help us turn a page in our relations with the palestinians. let us sit down at the negotiating table. let us put aside all preconditi preconditions. let us work together to achieve the historic compromise that will end our conflict once and forall. let me conclude, mr. president,
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on a personal note, i know how valuable the time and energies of the american president of yourself. this is the tenth time we have met since you became president and since i became prime minister. you've chosen israel as your first venue in your visit, your foreign visits in your second term. i want to thank you for the investment you have made in our relationship and in strengthening the friendship and alliance between our two countries. it is deeply, deeply appreciated. you have come here on the eve of passover. i've always considered it as our most cherished holiday. it celebrates the jewish peoplees a passage from slavery to freedom. through the ages, it has also inspired people struggling for froe dom, including the foundings, founding fathers of the united states.
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so it is a profound honor to host you, the leader of the free world, at this historic time in our ancient capital. mr. president, welcome to israel. welcome to jerusalem. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> well, thank you prime minister netanyahu for your kind words, and for your wonderful welcome here today. and i want to express a special thanks to sarah, as well as your two sons, for their warmth and hospitality. it was wonderful to see them. i did inform the prime minister that they are very good looking young plmen who clearly got the looks from their mother. >> well, i can say the same of your daughters. >> this is true. our goal is to improve our gene pool by marrying women who are better than we are. mr. prime minister, i want to begin by congratulating you on the formation of your new
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government, in the united states we work hard to find agreement between our two major parties here in israel. you have to find consensus among many more, and few legislators can compete with the intense. but all of this reflects the thriving nature of israel's democracy. as bb mentioned, this is our tenth meeting. we spent more time together, working together, than i have with any leader. this speaks of the closeness of our two nations. the interest and values that we share and depth and breath of the ties between our two peoples. as leaders, our most solemn responsibility is the security of our people. that's job number one. my job as president of the united states, is first and foremost, is to keep the american people safe. bb, as prime minister, your task is to keep the people of prime minister safe.
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and israel security is unique, as i've seen myself. i have visited villages near the blue line. i have walked through homes devastated by rockets. i have met with children who simply want to grow up free from fear. and flying today, i saw how israel security can be measured in mere miles and minutes. as president, i've therefore made it clear that security with israel is a solid obligation and security of israel is nonnegotiable. today our military and intelligence personnel cooperate more closely than ever before. we conduct more joint exercises and training than ever before. we are providing more security assistance and advanced technology to israel than ever before. that includes more support for the missile defenses, like iron
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dome which i saw today and which saved so many israeli lives. in short, and i don't think this is just my opinion, i think this would be shared, america's support for israel security is unprecedented and alliance between our nations has never been stronger. that the sturdy foundation we built on today as we addressed a range of shared challenges. as part of our long-term commitment to israel security. the prime minister and i agree to start extending military assistance to israel. our current agreement lasts through 2017 and we directed our teams to start working on extending it for the years beyond. i'm also pleased to announce we will take steps to insure that there's no interruption of funding for iron dome. as a result of decisions that i made last year, israel will receive approximately $200 million this fiscal year and we will continue to work with congress on future funding of
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iron dome. these are further reminders that we will help to preserve israel's qualitative military edge so israel can defend itself, by itself, against my threat. we also discussed the way forward to a two-state solution between israelis and palestinians. and i very much welcomed bb's words before i spoke. i will met with president tomorrow and for now let me just reiterate that a central element that a lasting peace must be a strong and secure jewish state where israel's security concerns are met, alongside a sovereign and independent palestinian state. in this regard i note that last year was a milestone. the first year in four decades when not a single israeli citizen lost their life because of terrorism emanating from the
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west bank. it is a reminder that israel has a profound interest in a strong and effective palestinian authority. and as prime minister's new government begins its work, we will continue to look for steps that both israelis and palestinians can can take to build trust and confidence upon which lasting peace will depend. we also reaffirm the importance of insuring israel's security given the changes and uncertainty in the region. as the united states supports the egyptian people in their historic transition to democracy, and egypt contributing to regional security preventing hamas from upholdingity peace treaty from israel. with respect to syria, the out continues to work with allies and friend and syrian opposition. to stop the violence against the syrian people and begin a transition toward a new
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government that respects the rights of all its people. assad has lost his legitimacy to lead by attacking the syrian people with almost every conventional weapon in his arsenal, including scud missiles. and we had been clear that use of chemical weapons against the syrian people would be a serious and tragic mistake. we also share israel's grave concern about the transfer of chemical or other weapons systems to terrorists. such as hezbollah. that might be used against israel. the assad regime must understand they will be held accountable for the use of chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorists. and finally, we continued our close consultation on iran. we agree that a nuclear armed iran would be a threat to the region. a threat to the world. and potentially an skoesten shl threat to israel. we do not have policy of
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containment when it comes to a nuclear iran. our policy is to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. we prefer to resolve this diplomatically. and there is still time to do so. iran's leaders must understand, however, that they have to meet their international obligations and meanwhile the international community will continue to increase pressure on the iranian government. the united states will continue to consult closely with israel. on next steps and i will repeat all options are on the table. we will do what is necessary to prevent iran from getting the world's worst weapons. meeting none of these challenges will be easy. it will demand the same courage an resolve as those who have preceded us. on friday, i will be honored to visit mount hertzel and pay tribute to soldiers who gave lives for israel.
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one of them is netanyahu. he wrote home, don't forget, strength, justice and staunch resolution are on our side and that is a great deal. mr. prime minister, like families across israel, you and your family served and sacrificed to defend your country and to pass it safe and strong to your children, just as it was passed on to you. standing here today, i can say with confidence that israel's security is guaranteed because it has a great deal on its side, including unwaivering support of the out of america. [ applause ] >> first question, israel channel 282nd. >> may i ask you about a
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political question and moral one. morally how is it possible that for the past two years tens of thousands of innocent civilians are massacred and no one in the world, united states, are doing anything to stop it immediately. on a practical level, you have said today and also in the past, that the use of chemical weapons would be crossing of red lines. it seemed like this line was crossed yesterday. what specifically do you intend to do about it. >> i will answer the question in reverse order, if you you don't mind. i will talk about the chemical weapons first and then the larger question. with respect to chemical weapons, we intend to investigate thoroughly exactly what happened. obviously in syria right now you've got a war zone. you have information that is filtered out but we is have to make sure that we know exactly what happened, what was the nature of the incident, what can we document, what can we prove. so i've instructed my teams to
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work closely with all of the countries in the region and international organizations, and institutions to find out precisely whether or not this red line was crossed. i will note, without at this point, having all of the facts before me, that we know the syrian government has the capacity to carry out chemical weapon attacks. we know that there are those in the syrian government who have expressed a willingness to use chemical weapons, if necessary, to protect them selves. i am deeply skeptical of any claim that in fact it was opposition that used chemical weapons. everybody who knows the facts of the chemical weapon stockpiles
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inside of syria as well as the syrian government's capabilities, i think would question those claims. but i know that they are floating out there right now. the broader point is that once we establish the facts, i have made clear that the use of chemical weapon says a game changer. and i won't make an announcement today about next steps because i think we have to gather the fact. but i do think that when you start seeing weapons that can cause potential devastation and mass casualties, and you let that jeannie out of the bottle, then you are looking at more horrific scenes than you have seen in syria and the international community has it act on that additional information.
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but i think -- as is always the case, when it comes to issues of war and peace, i think having the fact before you act as very important. more broadly, as i said in my opening statement, i believe that the assad regime lost all credibility and legitimacy. i think assad must go, and i believe he will go. it is incorrect for you to say that we have done nothing. we have helped to mobilize isolation of the assad regime internationally. we have supported and recognized the opposition. we have provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support for humanitarian aid. we have worked diligently with other countries in the region to provide additional tools to move towards a political transition within syria. if your suggestion is that i
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have not acted unilaterally, inside syria, the response has been, or my response would be, that to the ex tept possible, i want to make sure we are working as an international commune it to deal with this problem. because i think it is a world problem. not simply a united states problem. or an israel problem. or a turkish problem. for it is a world problem. when tens of thousands of people are being slaughtered, including innocent women and children. and so we will continue to work in an international framework to try to bring about the kind of change that is necessary in syria. secretary can kerry has been working nonstop since he came into his current position to try to help mobilize and organize our overall efforts. and we will continue to push
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every lever that we have to try to bring about a resolution inside of syria that respects the rights and safety and security of all people. regardless of whatever secretaryian lines currently divide syria. last poent point i will make, which is obvious, is this is not easy. when you see a war with sectarian lines in it and someone intent on maintaining power and you have mistrust that is broken out along sectarian lines, and you have an opposition that has not had the opportunity or time to organize itself, you know, both politically as well as militarily, then you know, you end up seeing some of the
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devastation you've been seeing. and we will do everything we can to continue to prevent it and i know that vast majority of our international partners feel the same way. >> from the white house press corps, matt spotalnik of reuters. >> yes, thank you. there was friendly banter between you two gentlemen on the tarmac today about red lines. i'm wondering about how much of that serious matter came into your talks tonight. president obama has said it will take iran at least a year to build a bomb. that's months longer than prime minister believees. mr. president, are you asking prime minister to be more patient to hold off for at least a year on any kind of military action against iran? mr. prime minister, has president obama's words, have they convinced you that he is putting forth the credible military threat you have repeatedly asked for and or does he need to go further? thank you.
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>> why don't you go ahead and take a first swing at this. >> first of all, you know, there are so many strips of different colors on the tarmac that we -- we did have a joke about that. but obviously this matter is no joke. it relates to our very existence and to something also that president correctly identifies as grave strategic threat to the out and to the peace and security of the world. i'm absolutely convinced that the president is determined to prevent iran from getting nuclear weapons. i appreciate that. and i also appreciate something that he said, which i mentioned in my opening remarks, that the jewish people have come back to their own country to be the masters of their own faith. and i appreciate the fact that
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the president has reaffirmed, more than any other president, israel's right and duty to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. we just heard those important words now. and i think that sums up our, our common view. iran is a grave threat to israel, a grave threat to the world, a nuclear iran. the united states has committed to deal with it. israel has committed to deal with it. we have different vulnerabilities, obviously, different capabilities. we take that into account. but what we doma maintain, and think the president is the first do so, is that israel has the rate to independently defend itself against any threat, including the iranian threat. >> i think the only thing i would add is that our intelligence cooperation on this
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issue, the consultation between our militaries, intelligence, is unprecedented. and there is not a lot of light, a lot of daylight, between our k our countries' assessments in terms of where iran is right now. i think what bb alluded to, which is absolutely correct, is each country has it make its own decisions when it comes to the awesome decision to engage in any kind of military action. and that israel is differently situated than the united states. and i would not expect that the prime minister would make a decision about his country's security and defer that to any other country. any more than the united states would defer our decisions about what was important for our
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national security. i have shared that with bb, is i said to the entire world, and said to the iranian people and iranian leaders, that i think there is time to resolve this issue diplomatically. the question is, will iranian leadership seize that opportunity. will they walk through that door? and it would be in everybody's interest, not just israel's interest. not just the united states' interest. it would be in the interest of the iranian people if this gets resolved diplomatically. because the truth of the matter is, is that the most permanent solution to to the iranian situation, is ultimately going to be their decision that it is not worth it for them to pursue nuclear weapons. that will be the lasting change. if we can get that, that's good for everybody.
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including iran. because it would allow tlem to break out of the isolation that has hampered their society and their economic development for many years. but i don't know whether they will be willing to take that step. and obviously, their past behavior indicate that in the words of -- or a play on words on what ronald reagan said, we can't even trust yet, much less verify. but we do have to test the proposition that this could be resolved diplomatically. and if it can't, then i've repeated to bb what i've said publicly and that is what we will leave all options on the table and resolve it. [ inaudible ] >> channel 1, israel. >> thank yo